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Schuyler County History
The Glen Springs

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Beginning as the Mountain House hotel which was built in 1847, property owner George G. Freer dug a deep well that was suppose to reveal oil.  To his disappointment, the well only exposed salt water.  William E. Leffingwell heard of the discovery and had the water analyzed by chemists.  The chemical analysis revealed that the water was nearly identical to the springs in Germany that were reported to have helped in the treatment of heart diseases.  Leffingwell purchased the hotel and appropriately renamed it Glen Springs.

The Lake View property overlooking Seneca Lake, became a first rate sanitarium and health resort equipped with the most modern technology available at the time.  The resort became well known for its tranquil setting and therapeutic treatments.  Staffed with skillfully trained physicians and boasting a clinic, laboratory, pharmacy, x-rays and electrocardiograph treatments, the Glen Springs Health Spa was world-renowned and attracted people of every status. 

The resort/sanitarium was run by the Leffingwell family for generations until it was finally inherited by William Murray Leffingwell in 1927 who would be the last Leffingwell to own the property.

Due to the operation difficulties associated with war conditions in 1942, Leffingwell was forced to close the resort.  Employees of the resort either entered the armed forces or took a position in the war industries.

After World War II the resort became housing for Cornell University GI students.  Then later, in 1949, the former resort became a Catholic boarding school for boys.  The school was owned by the Franciscan Friars and the property became know as Padua due to the Friars’ affiliation with St. Anthony of Padua.

The Friars later abandoned the building. Officials stated that the building was beyond repair.  After standing abandoned for almost 50 years, the once famous Glen Springs Resort was demolished in March of 1996. Now only parts of the building’s additions still stand, the gymnasium being one of them.  It is unfortunate that Watkins Glen was unable to preserve such a magnificent historical structure.

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